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Monday, June 29, 2015

Check Please

Why do people call the pharmacy to complain about a missing prescription before searching for it? I suppose it's the equivalent of "where are my sunglasses?" (on your head) or "where is my cellphone?" (you're talking on it).

CP: How many I help you?
Grumpy Foreskin: I got home and one of my prescriptions was missing.
CP: Ok. What do you mean it was missing?
GF: I am holding an empty bottle. What are you going to do about it?
CP: Well sir, it was in the bag when it left here. I checked our on hand quantities and we are spot on with our inventory.
GF: This is outrageous!

(cue dogs barking and a wife nattering on in the background for atmosphere...muffled sounds of struggle...)

Grumpy Foreskin's Wife: This is ridiculous! You keep doing this to him! I am an RN and I want to talk to someone who can fix this NOW!

(puts call on long, interminable, #PunishmentHold)

CP: As I tried to explain to your husband, our on hand quantities are correct. Perhaps you could check around the house. I noticed you picked up this prescription 3 weeks ago, not a few hours ago, as you made me believe.

(two hours later)
CP: How may I help you?
GFW: I found them.
CP: No shit? Ok. I need to know. Where were they?
GFW: In the glove box of his car.
CP: Thanks for wasting my time and being such an understanding, patient person. You bring nothing but warmth and tenderness to your profession. You are an exemplary RN and I am happy to call you a professional colleague.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Best

A most common request from patients is the recommendation of an OTC product. Included with that request is the plea for "The BEST" product to treat what ails them.
Why does everyone want the best?
Just because something is the best does not guarantee it is the most effective choice for you.

If you have opportunity, I'd encourage you to engage in the following witty repartee.

Advice Seeker: I need a recommendation for sunburn.
CP: Avoidance.
AS: What?
CP: I recommend avoidance. If you do not get a sunburn, you will not have to treat one.
AS: What's the best thing I can get?
CP: Sunscreen. And a hat. And a long sleeve shirt. Pants. These will all help. So will staying indoors.
AS: No. What's the best thing once I get a sunburn?
CP: Obviously it's too late by then.
AS: How do I treat it?
CP: Carefully. You really want the best thing?
AS: Yes.
CP: I don't think you can handle the best thing. You've already proven that. I can start you with the third-best, or maybe the second-best, but let's not be hasty and jump right up to #1.
AS: I can handle it. I just need to get rid of this sunburn.
AS: Huh?
CP: Motrin, Ice, Aloe, Solarcaine, Menthol, Avoidance.
AS: Sounds complicated.
CP: You asked for "THE BEST", not "The easiest and least complicated".

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Social Media and the Pharmacy

The big fear in movies is the weaponization of something that was developed to be helpful to humankind. Social Media and Pharmacy are no different. Corporate Pharmacy wants to embrace the technology for its customers to spend more time thinking about them. They develop apps to place prescription orders, to refill prescriptions, to remember to refill prescriptions, to shop online, to receive text and twitter alerts when prescriptions are filled, etc.

However, not one of these companies likes to be viewed negatively on any social media. Customer logs a complaint on twitter or Facebook? Company can research it and call the store to have them apologize to the customer.

But...should an employee air any negativity regarding her employer, employee risks termination of employment.

One thing I already knew before starting this page has been confirmed and fully reinforced every single day since: All retail pharmacy corporations are the same. They are all equal opportunity offenders. I used to tell people pharmacy was the same wherever you went. To this day, everyone can relate to these posts because their pharmacy is just like all of mine have been. If everyone on this page thinks I work for her company, then what does that tell you?

Someone on my FB page apparently got made at me after trading barbs with a few followers and posted this note for me: "You do realize that your entire page is against policy and you could be fired for breaching company policy."

I asked which company but did not receive an answer...

I ask you the following questions:
1. Does your company have a specific, defined social media policy in place?
2. Can an employee be fired for a policy violaion if the company has absolutely no written, formal policy in place?

If you have a copy of your company's Social Media Policy, please message it to me. I'm curious to know which employers have them and how extensive they are. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Learn, Damn You

We should make a series of instructional videos titled: How to Train Your Patients. We could play it on an endless loop in the waiting area.

Our first lesson would be out-of-stock/special order items. In this first vignette, we would show this all-too-common occurrence.

Usual Man: I needs me a refill.
CP: Swell...Alas, we are out of this medication currently.
UM: What? I take this every month. Shouldn't your computer know I'm due for my refill and order this for me automatically?
CP: I suppose it could...But let us flash back to, well, each of the last 3 times you've been in here for this prescription, shall we? I personally spoke with you each time. I specifically mentioned, nay, pointedly told you, that this was a special order item we do not carry due to its expense. You are also the only patient who takes this.
UM: But you should know I'm due!
CP: You're saying I should know better than you, the patient, the person who actually has to physically reach inside the bottle and sees his supply dwindling daily down to infinite nothingness, that your prescription is due for a refill?
UM: Yes!
CP: Okay. Let me see if I understand this: For the last 3 months, I have told you to call this in at least 24 hours in advance. You won't sign up for the Refill Reminder Texts. You believe I should keep this medication in stock only for you. You get mad when, despite months of me telling you the same thing, you continue to ignore my advice and simple solutions to your problems. Do I have the gist of it?
UM: Um, yeah.
CP: I think you just keep coming here to argue with me. I think you look forward to this each month. I bet you circle this on your calendar every 30 days as a way to vent some frustration rather than refill your prescription.

At the end of the video, we would show that "UM" remembered next month to call in his refill 24 hours before he needed it...on a Saturday afternoon.

You're right. Scratch that. We might as well show videos of kittens playing with prescription bottles.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Expectation: At a fine dining establishment, perhaps the maitre'd or manager will approach your table at some point during or after your meal and inquire as to the quality of your visit. He will ask about the food and wine and thank you for your visit.

That's awesome. I feel as if that is part of the atmosphere I seek when I choose to spend a lot of cash at a really expensive, high-quality restaurant.

In today's society, especially in the me-first United States, it is expected that customer service is a priority above all else. Pharmacists are expected to write action plans if their customer service scores are low or dropping (low according to randomly established baselines set by the whore company). Ideas outlined in these action plans often include:
"I will smile more.",
"I will make eye contact with all 'customers' as they approach the counter...or even if I am walking to the bathroom and have the look upon my face of having held it too long.",
"I will kiss little babies and offer them suckers." (Not a good idea, but corporate is a sucker for babies.),
"I will offer random performances behind my glass wall, reenacting Tom Cruise's scenes from Cocktail...except with medication bottles instead of liquor."

All of this made me think of my restaurant experiences and this analogy: Forcing a pharmacist to smile and offer fake sincerities (we are genuine professionals, after all!) is like asking the manager at McDonald's to walk around the dining room asking if everyone is enjoying their meals and thanking them for "dining with us" today. It's a little out of place.

We are, by nature, caring individuals. That's the reason we chose the profession we love so dear. Corporations cannot try to deliver high-quality experiences whilst simultaneously offering a fast-food atmosphere.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How Many?

CP: Greetings and salutations. How may I help you?
Not Sure Of Anything: I am calling to inquire as to how many prescriptions I have ready.
CP: There are two. Two prescriptions ready. ah ah ah...
NSOA: Okay, Count Pharmacist. Thank you.
CP: Anything else?
NSOA: Is there another one?
CP: Like a third one?
NSOA: Yes.
CP: No.
NSOA: Why not?
CP: Because I only have two.
NSOA: Are you sure?
CP: Pretty sure.
NSOA: Really sure. Like really, really sure?
CP: Like totally sure. If I had three, I would have said three. What good does it serve for me to lie to you? Wait, one, two, five!
NSOA: Really?
CP: No. Seriously, what do you expect, oh aptly named person?
NSOA: Not sure.
CP: Exactly. Sometimes, just for phun, we like to lie to people. We didn't become one of the most trusted professions any other way...It's common practice for us to lie to you. We tell you we only have two prescriptions ready for you, lower your expectations, then when you come in and least expect it, Surprise! we have three!
NSOA: That sounds marvelously exciting.
CP: I know, right? We're now training our technicians to have a little flair at the pickup window; put on a little show for those stuck waiting in the long lines (budget cuts, y'know?). They grab the first bag from the will call section, then with a little bit of legerdemain, pull out the third one and shout BOOM!
NSOA: Oh my. I just got chills.
CP: Make sure you call the 1-800 number and tell them how awesome we are.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Survey Monkey

What questions would you like to see on your Practice of Pharmacy, Employee Survey?
1. Does your company provide enough help for you to complete your tasks in a timely manner?
2. Does your boss help you fight the good fight or is she a corporate shill; a hollow shell of her former, behind-the-bench, RPh self? 
3. What could we, as a management company interested only in profit and not real pharmacy practice, do to improve the Profession of Pharmacy?
4. Do you believe that continuing to add tasks to your job description without adjusting your compensation is fair?
5. Do you believe the company values your (the employees') opinions on how the real world of pharmacy practice works?
6. Do you believe your employer values speed over accuracy?
7. Do you believe your employer's senior leadership is out of touch with how pharmacy is practiced at store level?
8. Are pharmacy patrons called customers or patients?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Phriday Phun

Now that Easter is over, I stocked up on all the discounted PAAS egg-dyeing kits.
Whenever someone complains their tablets aren't the right colour, we can either change it or give them their own personal make-it-the-right-colour kit. It's like Flavorx, but we'll call it ColouRx. We can charge a few extra dollars for each Rx. We'd have to price it on a scale based on how many they want dyed or a flat fee for the DIY kit.
The only problem I see is someone complaining their tablets smell a bit funky. Like douche. Or feet...